As anyone who’s been through divorce litigation knows, getting a favorable ruling from the judge is a huge step, but it may not be the last step. There may be occasions where, despite a clear order from the court, your ex-spouse doesn’t do what he/she was supposed to do. This is one of the many reasons why it pays to have a skilled South Florida family law attorney on your side: so that you can not only win your case in court, but can win the legal battles that come afterward.
For example, look at A.L. and K.M., a married couple who created a postnuptial agreement. That agreement said that the wife would pay the husband a one-time equitable distribution payment. The payment, which was $250,000, was due within seven days of the spouses’ signing of the agreement.
The wife didn’t pay the whole $250,000, though. Instead, she paid $225,000. The husband responded by filing a contempt motion. The magistrate who heard the case initially recommended that the court rule in favor of the husband and order the wife to pay the remaining $25,000.
Of course, when someone has failed to perform as required under a binding agreement, your losses amount to more than just the sum you weren’t paid. You’ve also lost the use of that money that should have been in your possession, but wasn’t. The law recognizes that. For this reason, if someone fails to pay you money that they owed to you under a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement, then you are entitled to the money of which you were deprived plus interest.
The correct ‘start date’ is key to getting a complete award of interest
In order to make sure that you are getting everything to which you are entitled under the law, you have to make sure that the period of time the court uses for calculating interest is the correct one. If the court uses the wrong start date, then the period of time may be too small, and you may get shortchanged on the interest awarded to you.
For example, in A.L.’s case, the magistrate recommended that the husband receive interest at the statutory rate starting as of the date that he filed his motion for contempt. The appeals court, however, explained that this was incorrect. Under Florida law, the start date for calculating interest is “date of loss” and not the date of filing of the contempt motion.
This can be a big difference. In A.L.’s case, for example, he and the wife signed their postnuptial agreement on Jan. 11, 2017. That meant that, under the terms of the contract, the full $250,000 was due on Jan. 17, 2017 and Jan. 17, 2017 was the “date of loss.” The magistrate’s opinion was entered on Oct. 19, 2018, raising the possibility that the husband may have filed his contempt motion many months after the actual date of loss. Correcting the start date could mean a much larger interest award for this husband.
There are many details that go into getting you what you deserve from your postnuptial agreement or divorce. Even when a final judgment has been entered, the litigation processes you need to go through may not be finished. Wherever you are in the divorce litigation process, count on the skilled South Florida family law attorneys at Sandy T. Fox, P.A., who have been successfully helping Florida spouses for many years. Contact our attorneys online or by calling (800) 596-0579 to schedule your confidential consultation today.